Why co-ops should be the future for childcare



Independent co-operative childcare has been around for years, either owned collectively by the staff, or by the parents. ACE Nursery in Cambridge is a co-operative nursery started in 1966 with places for 40 children at a time, whose parents own and run the show.

Head teacher Lisa Tuohy has been at the nursery for five years, having been appointed by the committee of parents who are responsible for overseeing things, including setting staff salaries and fee levels.

Parents serving on the committee are elected annually, but they aren’t the only ones helping out. A condition of having their children accepted is that parents commit to doing five hours per month volunteer work, from getting the shopping for meals, washing the laundry, painting the facility or even conveyance for a new lease with the landlord.

What are parents’ initiatives?

Parents initiatives are small, self-managed by parents and / or educators and day care centers nurseries. They usually have the legal form of a non-profit organization in which the parents are members and provide the Board. As a result, parents have great influence on all issues and the development of the association. It also means to take responsibility and to volunteer. This commitment is in addition to the board work in activities such as administrative work, cleaning, cooking, janitorial work, etc.. This is not always pleasurable, but on the other hand leads to a strong identification with the parents’ their ‘parents’ initiative.

Parent associations in Germany have a long reaching back to the 1968 movement history. The motivation for the establishment of parent associations (also colloquially called the children of stores because old store rooms were rented) was the criticism of the authoritarian pedagogy as an expression of an authoritarian society and the resulting search for social and educational alternatives.


Parental Nursery

Parental Nursery

What is parental nursery?

It is an association of parents who manages a venue and recruiting professionals to care for children 0-3 years. Because of parental involvement, parental nursery offers a mode of socialization especially suitable for young children and intermediary between the family and the community.